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Health literacy among refugees in Sweden: a cross-sectional study
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Social Medicine. (Socialmedicinsk epidemiologi)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Social Medicine. (Socialmedicinsk epidemiologi)
Göteborgs Universitet.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Social Medicine. (Socialmedicinsk epidemiologi)
2014 (English)In: BMC Public Health, ISSN 1471-2458, E-ISSN 1471-2458, Vol. 14, no 1, 1030- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Refugees have poorer health compared to indigenous populations, which may be explained by lower health literacy, i.e. not being able to access, understand, appraise or apply health information. This study aims to determine levels of functional and comprehensive health literacy, and factors associated with inadequate health literacy, in refugees coming to Sweden.

METHOD: A cross-sectional study was performed among 455 adult refugees speaking Arabic, Dari, Somali or English. Participants in 16 strategically selected language schools for immigrants responded to a questionnaire. Health literacy was measured using the Swedish Functional Health Literacy Scale and the HLS-EU-Q16 questionnaire. Uni- and multivariate statistical methods were used to investigate group differences.

RESULTS: The majority of the participating refugees had inadequate or limited functional health literacy and comprehensive health literacy. About 60% of them had inadequate functional health literacy and 27% had inadequate comprehensive health literacy. Low education and/or being born in Somalia were factors associated with an increased risk of having inadequate functional health literacy. Having inadequate functional health literacy was associated with an increased risk of having inadequate comprehensive health literacy.

CONCLUSIONS: The majority of refugees in the language schools had limited or poor health literacy. Health literacy should be taken into consideration in contexts and in activities addressing migrants. More research is needed to better understand health literacy among refugees and to develop strategies and methods to increase health literacy and make life easier for those with low health literacy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 14, no 1, 1030- p.
Keyword [sv]
Hälsolitteracitet, migration, hälsa
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Social Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-234032DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-1030ISI: 000343284400001PubMedID: 25278109OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-234032DiVA: diva2:755100
Available from: 2014-10-13 Created: 2014-10-13 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
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Wångdahl, JosefinLytsy, PerWesterling, Ragnar

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